Morning Examiner: Can Perry be the anti-Romney? 

Republican primary voters are desperate for a credible alternative to former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s performance at this weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference suggests he just might be the man for the job.

The SRLC was almost as noteworthy for who was not there: former-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty chose the Right Online conference in his home state, as did Rep. Michele Bachmann. Romney attended neither event while former-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had been signed up for SRLC but backed out due to illness (although unconfirmed twitter reports place him running vibrantly in DC Sunday morning).

No matter what the reason was for the big names not showing up, Perry easily filledthe vacuum, delivering an Tea Party/anti-Washington speech that could easily be used on the campaign trail. His aides say it will be weeks before we can expect a final decision from Perry. This will make the August Iowa Fox News/Examiner debate the first venue for Perry to prove if he is for real.

Around the Bigs
The Washington Post, For Obama in 2012, closer look at state unemployment numbers shows silver lining: “According to a state-by-state analysis conducted by Matt McDonald, a partner at the GOP-aligned Hamilton Place Strategies, the unemployment rate outpaced the national average in only four swing states last month: Florida, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina. … That means Obama could lose all four states where unemployment is above the national average and — assuming he can retain the other states he won in 2008 — still win a relatively comfortable reelection with 299 electoral votes.”

The Wall Street Journal, Head of ATF Is Likely to Go: “The Justice Department is expected to oust the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to people familiar with the matter, amid a troubled federal antitrafficking operation that has grown into the agency’s biggest scandal in nearly two decades. Moves toward the replacement of Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director since April 2009, could begin next week, although the precise sequence of events remains to be decided, these people said.”

The New York Times, 2 Top Lawyers Lost to Obama in Libya War Policy Debate: “President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations. Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.”

The Washington Post editorial board, Flight risk for Boeing: “The NLRB’s move goes too far and would undermine a company’s ability to consider all legitimate factors — including potential work disruptions — when making plans. It also substitutes the government’s judgment for that of the company. This is neither good law nor good business.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, The Accountable Care Fiasco: “The Obama Administration is handing out waivers far and wide for its health-care bill, but behind the scenes the bureaucracy is grinding ahead writing new regulations. The latest example is the rule for Accountable Care Organizations that are supposed to be the crown jewel of cost-saving reform. One problem: The draft rule is so awful that even the models for it say they won’t participate.”

The Washington Post, Hospitals courting primary-care doctors: “In one of the first concrete steps to remake the way medical care is delivered, hospitals are competing to hire primary-care physicians, trying to lure them from their private practices to work as salaried employees alongside specialists. … It also spotlights benefits and drawbacks for patients and doctors alike in one of the health-care overhaul’s much-touted initiatives. … For many doctors, the salaried jobs may come with greater security, but the trade-off is less individual freedom over how many patients they see and how they care for them, they said. “It’s like the local coffee shop versus Starbucks,” said one family- medicine doctor.”

The New York Times, Companies Push for Tax Break on Foreign Cash: “Some of the nation’s largest corporations have amassed vast profits outside the country and are pressing Congress and the Obama administration for a tax break to bring the money home. … Under the proposal, known as a repatriation holiday, the federal income tax owed on such profits returned to the United States would fall to 5.25 percent for one year, from 35 percent.”

USA Today, 2012 looms as a test of competing economic theories: “With the economy swamping other issues for American voters, Republican contenders have united behind a conservative template that would reduce the role of government — slashing spending, cutting taxes and reducing regulation — and rely on the private sector to pull the nation from economic doldrums. … On the other side, President Obama would cut spending less, raise taxes on top earners and use the government to encourage worker training and develop green energy jobs.”

The Wall Street Journal, The Regulator Down the Hall: “As part of a push to prevent another financial crisis, the New York Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are increasing the number of examiners “embedded” at the nation’s biggest banks.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, City pension pays more than average worker earns: “The average retiree from San Francisco city government earns an annual pension of $46,272, according to the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System. The average retiree who worked at least 30 years in city government earns an annual pension of $76,981.”

Campaign 2012
Southern Republican Leadership Conference:

  • ABC News, Paul Wins RLC Straw Poll, While Huntsman Springs Surprise: “Rep. Ron Paul of Texas took the honors in the straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans today, but it was Jon Huntsman who sprang a surprise with a strong second-place finish. Paul won with 612 votes, followed by Huntsman with 382 and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota –- who won praise for her performance in Monday’s debate in New Hampshire -– in third with 191.”

Perry:

  • National Journal, Perry Road-Tests A Stump Speech: “Republican activists have waited all week to see a front-running presidential candidate. When Texas Gov. Rick Perry took the stage Saturday, they may have finally gotten their glimpse. … In a 20-minute address to about 2,000 activists at the Republican Leadership Conference, Perry decried the Obama administration and even Republicans he blamed for “apologizing” while touting his own record with remarks that sounded conspicuously like a stump speech.”
  • Human Events, Calls for Perry To Run Grow: “On the final day of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference here, it was easy to sense who the enthusiasm was for and talk at the Hilton Hotel focused on: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has hinted for nearly two weeks that he may enter the Republican presidential sweepstakes. Even before the 61-year-old Perry addressed the gathering of more than 2000 GOP activists here, there were growing signs that he would soon “make the plunge.” Last night, HUMAN EVENTS learned that, along with his speech, Perry would have a closed-door meeting with office-holders and party officials from throughout the South who are attending the SRLC.”
  • The Wall Street Journal, Texan Perry Sizes Up Roadblocks to GOP Bid The Wall Street Journal reports: “Among their considerations is whether Mr. Perry has enough time to raise sufficient cash, which generally requires personal contact with donors and fund-raisers. … Mr. Perry’s team is now preparing a list of the hurdles the governor faces, including criteria for coming debates and filing deadlines for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and other early contests. Aides say they have made inquiries in Iowa to assess the logistics of competing in a closely watched straw poll there in August.”
  • The Los Angeles Times, GOP lacks a strong contender from the South: “Most of the big names have opted out of the GOP presidential race, perhaps leaving an opening that could draw in Texas Gov. Rick Perry.”
  • The Texas Tribune, Aide: Perry Still “Weeks Away” From Big Decision: “New Hampshire-based consultant Dave Carney, who has worked for Perry for more than a decade, said he is pulling together key dates and deadlines for the governor so that he can make an informed decision about whether to run for the White House. Carney, in an extensive breakfast interview with the Tribune, said it was still a “50-50” proposition.”

Huntsman:

  • New York Times, A1, For 2012 Hopeful, Envoy Job in China Was a Useful Detour: “Mr. Huntsman, 51, who resigned as ambassador in late April and declined to comment for this article, is joining the presidential campaign scene as a relative unknown outside Utah. Yet he is among those who are being taken most seriously by Mr. Obama’s aides, who after working with him for more than two years say he could be formidable if — and they consider this a big “if” — he can navigate a nominating contest likely to be decided by voters who may view him as too moderate.”
  • Politico, Issue for Jon Huntsman: His family’s Iran business: “Huntsman, 51, placed his company assets in a blind trust in 2004 while he was running for governor of Utah, and divested himself completely the next year. The Iranian subsidiary did nothing illegal – though many other U.S. companies long ago shut down their Iranian operations in protest of the country’s regime.”

Pawlenty:

  • RedState, Tim Pawlenty Impresses Right Online: “The energy level was not the same as with Michele Bachmann, but then the speech was a different sort of speech. … Consider that he arrived ten minutes before his speech after multiple flight problems and used neither notes nor the podium to make his case. The crowd responded extremely positively to a guy who could, unlike Obama, speak without a teleprompter and, unlike Bush, not make a series of unfortunate verbal gaffes as a result. It was a refreshing demeanor and a great speech.”

Ryan:

  • National Review, Ryan 2012-He won’t run, but he will battle: “In coming months, Ryan may travel to early primary states, but only once the ‘Ryan for president’ chatter fades. “Perhaps after it is clear, once I knew that I would not be stoking rumors,” he says. “But I have stayed out of those states because I did not want to send misleading signals.” In this town, he muses, “everybody watches what you do, not what you say.”"

Righty playbook:

  • At The Corner, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (the author of Arizona’s immigration enforcement bill) explains his opposition to Rep. Lamar Smith’s, R-Tex., E-Verify legislation: “States would no longer be able to take any action against employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens. HR-2164 is a very poor bargain for anyone who believes in the enforcement of immigration laws.”
  • At The Daily Standard, Fred and Kim Kagan make the case that Success Against Al Qaeda Depends on Success in Afghanistan: “It is faulty logic of the worst kind to take the situation in Afghanistan that makes it so inhospitable to al Qaeda as a given, regardless of the presence or absence of U.S. forces or their activities. If the U.S. withdraws prematurely from Afghanistan and the country collapses again into ethnic civil war, then al Qaeda will have regained its original and most dangerous sanctuary.”

Lefty playbook:

  • ThinkProgress claims “Justices Have Been Forced To Resign For Doing What Clarence Thomas Has Done” explaining: “Leading conservative donor Harlan Crow, whose company often litigates in federal court, donated $500,000 to allow Thomas’s wife to start a Tea Party group and he once gave Thomas a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank which frequently files briefs in Thomas’ Court, also gave Thomas a $15,000 gift. … If this sounds familiar, it’s because America has seen this movie before. Indeed, the Thomas scandal is little more than a remake of the forty year-old gifting scandal that brought down Justice Abe Fortas.” This piece follows up on a Saturday New York Times article attacking Thomas for accepting a bust of Lincoln from a historical preservation society. These desperate attacks only show how worried the left is about the Supreme Court overturning Obamacare.

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